My team and I have been fiddling around with a lot of different location-based applications recently, and have developed what I think are some pretty good use cases for our company. During the course of that process, we've gotten to know a few things ...
- It's amazing how many apps are out there; we've found at least 20 that fit the bill
- A few, including some of the biggies, have open APIs
- Very few are really interested in partnering with businesses yet on anything; there are too many product-related and competitive hurdles to clear first.
My iPhone was starting to get crowded with location-based apps, and every time I'd walk into a restaurant, my wife wanted to kill me because I'd have to check in using at least four different apps. So as we were fiddling with APIs, we started thinking about how to create a single check-in service that would report your location to all of your apps.
Lo and behold, not even a week later I got an invitation to check out the beta version of check.in, a new mobile app from the guys at brightkite. At the moment, it allows you to check in to brightkite, foursquare and gowalla with a single click. I just tried it at one of my local favorites, and it worked like a charm!
It's going to be really interesting to see how this space evolves ... and I wonder if check.in is going to give brightkite a (needed?) dose of relevance. Hope so; I was always a fan of the app, but it seems to have been overtaken by foursquare, gowalla and causeworld.
Another site that's making cool use of the APIs for foursquare and gowalla is http://vicarious.ly. I love the idea and the interface, but if you can figure out why you'd need it, please let me know.